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(fē`nĭks), Crete: see PhenicePhenice
, in the New Testament. 1 Same as Phoenicia. 2 Harbor, SW Crete. It was also called Phoenix.
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city (1990 pop. 983,403), state capital and seat of Maricopa co., S Ariz., on the Salt River; inc. 1881. It is the largest city in Arizona, the hub of the rich agricultural region of the Salt River valley, and an important center for research and development, electronics, telecommunications, semiconductors, and the aerospace industry. Food processing and the production of aircraft parts, electrical appliances, agricultural chemicals, machinery, tools, plastic and wood products, cosmetics, and leather goods remains central to its manufacturing base. Greater Phoenix is a popular resort area, and tourism is also important to the economy.

The city was founded on the site of ancient Native American canals; hence its name, signifying a new town which had risen from the ruins of an old civilization. In 1868, pioneers developed what remained of the Native Americans' irrigation system; water was diverted from the Salt River, and farming began, supplemented by mining and ranching in the surrounding desert and mountains. The completion (1911) of the Roosevelt Dam on the Salt River brought power and abundant water to the community, and opened a new era of farming in the valley.

Phoenix grew as an important trade and distribution center. It boomed during World War II, when three airfields were opened. The phenomenal growth continued after the war; veterans who had been stationed in Phoenix returned to stay, and manufacturing concerns moved there to utilize the large labor supply. The expanding metropolitan area includes the suburbs of MesaMesa
, city (1990 pop. 288,091), Maricopa co., S central Ariz., in the irrigated Salt River valley; inc. 1883. Electronic components, fabricated metals, aircraft, and machine tools are among its various manufactures.
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, ScottsdaleScottsdale,
city (1990 pop. 130,069), Maricopa co., central Ariz.; settled in 1895 by Winfield Scott, inc. 1951. It is a resort and retirement center in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
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, TempeTempe
, city (1990 pop. 141,865), Maricopa co., S Ariz., in the Salt River valley, a suburb of Phoenix; inc. 1894. Its population has grown markedly since the 1970s with the expansion of the greater Phoenix area.
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, GlendaleGlendale.
1 City (1990 pop. 148,134), Maricopa co., S central Ariz., adjacent to Phoenix; inc. 1910. It is located in a rich agricultural region irrigated by the Salt River project. Glendale has become one of the fastest-growing U.S.
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, ChandlerChandler,
city (1990 pop. 90,533), Maricopa co., S central Ariz., in the Salt River valley; inc. 1920. It is both a residential community and a center for research and technology. Tourism is also important, and the San Marcos Golf Resort is in Chandler.
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, and PeoriaPeoria
. 1 City (1990 pop. 50,618), Maricopa co., central Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix; settled 1897, inc. 1954. With the completion of the Arizona Canal in 1885, the area was settled by families from Peoria, Ill., and became an agricultural trading center.
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, all of which are among the fastest-growing cities in the United States.

Among the area's many outstanding parks are the Desert Botanical Gardens, Camelback Mountain, and the nearby South Mountain Park, which has an active gold mine. Also in the area are a number of Native American communities and reservations, national monuments, and state parks. Among its museums are the Heard Museum, with Native American art of the Southwest; the Phoenix Art Museum; the Pioneer Arizona Living History Museum, with pioneer relics; the Pueblo Grande Museum, containing excavations of Native American ruins c.800 years old; and the Arizona Capitol Museum. Other attractions are the Phoenix Zoo, the Arizona Science Center, and the Mystery Castle, built of native rock.

Phoenix is the seat of the Univ. of Phoenix, Arizona State Univ. West, Grand Canyon Univ., and Southwestern College. It has a symphony orchestra, as well as opera and ballet companies. The Phoenix Suns play in the National Basketball Association and the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League (baseball). The Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League play in adjacent Glendale, as do the Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League. Several major-league baseball teams have spring-training camps in the area.


See J. E. Buchanan, Phoenix: A Chronological and Documentary History, 1865–1976 (1978); G. W. Johnson Jr., Phoenix (1982); B. Luckingham, Phoenix: The History of a Southwestern Metropolis (1989).


fabulous bird that periodically regenerated itself, used in literature as a symbol of death and resurrection. According to legend, the phoenix lived in Arabia; when it reached the end of its life (500 years), it burned itself on a pyre of flames, and from the ashes a new phoenix arose. As a sacred symbol in Egyptian religion, the phoenix represented the sun, which dies each night and rises again each morning. According to Herodotus the bird was red and golden and resembled an eagle.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


(fee -niks) A constellation in the southern hemisphere near Grus, the brightest star, Ankaa (α) being of 2nd magnitude. Beta (β) Phoenicis is a binary, both components being of 4th magnitude. Abbrev.: Phe; genitive form: Phoenicis; approx. position: RA 1h, dec –50°; area: 469 sq deg.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006


Ancient legends preserve the tale of the immortal phoenix, a marvelous bird that rises from the ashes of its own funeral pyre. According to these legends, when the bird senses that it is close to death it builds a bonfire from scented woods and myrrh and takes its place amidst the flames. After its body is consumed, a new phoenix emerges from the ashes of the old one. Early Christian thinkers quickly adopted this pre-existing symbol of rebirth and immortality as a symbol of the resurrection of Christ and his followers.

Variations of the Tale

The legend of the phoenix developed in ancient Egypt and was adopted by the ancient Greeks. To the Egyptians the bird stood for the sun, which rises anew each day. Some also associated the bird with Osiris, the Egyptian god who died and was resurrected. The Egyptians believed this red-gold bird dwelt somewhere in Arabia, or perhaps India, and that it had a lifespan of about five hundred years. Several different versions of the phoenix legend circulated throughout the ancient Mediterranean world. According to one, when the bird knew itself to be dying it journeyed to Heliopolis, an important Egyptian city. There it built a nest of fragrant woods and spices on the altar of the Temple of the Sun. Fire consumed both the nest and the phoenix, but a baby bird miraculously emerged from the smoking remains. In several days the young phoenix grew strong enough to fly away from the temple. Some versions of the tale specify that the young bird grew from a worm which crawled out of the body of the dead bird. Other versions of the legend omit all mention of Heliopolis, suggesting instead that the bird constructed its funeral pyre at some unspecified place in the desert, using the heat of the sun and the fanning of its own wings to set the wood ablaze. Some tale tellers added that the young bird that rose from the ashes of these lonely funeral bonfires then journeyed to Heliopolis clutching a ball of myrrh in which it had entombed the body of its dead parent.

The tale of the phoenix was well known in the ancient Mediterranean world. The Jews told a folktale about this bird, too. They said it was the only bird in the Garden of Eden that did not eat the forbidden fruit. Thus the phoenix alone retained the gift of eternal life.

The Egyptians called this legendary bird a bennu, while the Greeks referred to it as a "phoenix." The ancient Greeks used a nearly identical word for "palm tree." Some writers have noted that the ashes of the date palm tree make good fertilizer for palm seedlings. They speculate that this agricultural fact might have given rise to the myth of the baby bird which emerges from the ashes of its parent. In any case, date palm trees also served as symbols of eternal life among the early Christians. They often appeared together with phoenixes in early Christian artwork.

An Early Christian Symbol

The pagan Romans used the phoenix as a symbol of immortality on funeral urns. The early Christians adopted the phoenix as a symbol of their own belief in the resurrection of the dead. Phoenixes are depicted on the walls of some of Rome's earliest catacombs, underground vaults in which the early Christians buried their dead. They also appear on the walls of early Christian churches, often with starshaped disks of light behind their heads. The popularity of this symbol declined during Renaissance times, although it is still occasionally seen on robes worn by the clergy during religious services.

Further Reading

Evans, E. P. Animal Symbolism in Ecclesiastical Architecture. 1896. Reprint. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1969. Heath, Sidney. The Romance of Symbolism. 1909. Reprint. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1976. Hulme, F. Edward. The History, Principles and Practice of Symbolism in Chris- tian Art. 1891. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1969. Knapp, Justina. Christian Symbols and How to Use Them. 1935. Reprint. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1974. Leach, Maria, ed. Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Myth- ology and Legend. New York: Harper and Row, 1984. Lord, Priscilla Sawyer, and Daniel J. Foley. Easter Garland. 1963. Reprint. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, 1999. Webber, F. R. Church Symbolism. 1938. Second edition, revised. Reprint. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, 1992.
Encyclopedia of Easter, Carnival, and Lent, 1st ed. © Omnigraphics, Inc. 2002
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city in the southwestern USA, on the Salt River; the capital of Arizona. Population, 700,000 (1975; including suburbs, 1,200,000). Phoenix is an important transportation junction. As of 1974, 85,000 people were employed in the city’s industries, which include garment manufacturing, food processing (slaughtering and fruit canning), aluminum recycling, metalworking, the manufacture of chemical products, and machine building, particularly for the radio-electronics and aerospace industries. Phoenix is the center of a major irrigated farming region that produces cotton, citrus fruits, and vegetables. The city is a winter health resort. A university is located in Phoenix.



an archipelago of eight atolls in the Pacific Ocean, in central Polynesia; situated between 2° 45′ and 4° 45′ S lat. and 170° 40′ and 174° 35′ W long. The largest island is Canton. The archipelago, which covers a total area of 28 sq m, has a population of about 1,000.

Before Kiribati was declared independent in 1979, most of the islands were possessions of Great Britain; Canton and Enderbury islands were administered jointly by the USA and Great Britain. Most of the islands rise 5–6 m above sea level. They are covered with coconut palms and sparse shrub vegetation. Canton has an airport for transoceanic flights.



a constellation of the southern hemisphere. The brightest star of the constellation has a visual stellar magnitude of 2.4. The best time for observing Phoenix, which is visible in the southern regions of the USSR, is September and October.



a genus of dioecious trees of the family Palmae. The trunks are covered with old petiole-bases and are topped by a dense crown of pinnate leaves. The anemophilous, unisexual, and trimerous flowers are in panicled inflorescences. The fruit is a berry with a single hard seed; in some species the fruit is edible.

There are more than 15 species, found in the tropics and sub-tropics of Africa and Asia. The date palm (P. dactylifera) is the oldest cultivated plant in the dry subtropical regions of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, southern Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (to the right bank of the Indus River). The plant is not known to grow wild. Cultivation of the date palm was known in the seventh millennium B.C in Sumeria, Assyria, and Egypt.

The erect trunk is 15–20 m high and 80 cm in diameter; suckers form at the base. The leaves are 4–6 m long. The oblong or oval fruits, called dates, reach 7.5 cm in length and 3.5 cm in diameter. The dates contain a large number of nutrients; they are used as food by the local inhabitants and are exported. Iraq is the leading date-producing country, with a yield of approximately 350,000 tons annually. In the USSR date palms have been grown since 1939 in Turkmenia (Kizyl-Atrek), where they bear fruit despite brief frosts to – 14°C. When the trunks are tapped, a sugary sap is obtained from which wine is made; sugar is the residue produced after evaporation.

The wild date (P. sylvestris) is cultivated in India as a source of sugar. Many species are cultivated as ornamentals. The most commonly grown species in subtropical gardens and parks, including on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus, is P. canariensis, which has a trunk reaching 12–15 m high and a crown containing 150 to 200 leaves. P. reclinata, native to tropical Africa, is found in gardens south of Sochi. Among species grown in greenhouses is the ornamental P. roblenii, native to southern Indochina.


Alekseev, V. P. “Finikovaia pal’ma.” Subtropicheskie kul’tury, 1959, no. 4.




a legendary bird in the mythologies of several ancient peoples. Toward the end of its long life, the phoenix immolates itself and rises alive and youthful from the ashes. The phoenix is a symbol of eternal rebirth.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A southern constellation; right ascension 1 hour, declination 50°S.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


fabulous Arabian bird; sings a dirge, burns itself to ashes, and rises to a new life. [Gk. Myth.: Brewer Dictionary, 699]
See: Birds


in Middle Ages, attribute of chastity personified. [Art: Hall, 246]


fabulous bird that consumes itself by fire every five hundred years and rises renewed from the ashes. [Arab Myth.: Brewer Dictionary, 699]
See: Fire


fabled bird, rises from its ashes. [Gk. Legend: Brewer Dictionary, 829; Christian Symbolism: Appleton, 76]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(US), phenix
a legendary Arabian bird said to set fire to itself and rise anew from the ashes every 500 years


a city in central Arizona, capital city of the state, on the Salt River. Pop.: 1 388 416 (2003 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(operating system)
An operating system, built in BCPL on top of IBM MVT and later MVS by Cambridge University Computing Service from 1973 to 1995, which ran on the university central mainframe. All parts of the system were named after birds, including Eagle (the job scheduler, also the nearest pub), Pigeon (the mailer), GCAL (the text processor) and Wren (the command language), leading to Wren Libraries (a local pun).

Phoenix was much used by chemists in daytime and by the rest of the university in the evenings, and was only abandoned in favour of Unix in 1995; it is one reason Cambridge made little contribution to Unix until then.

Computing Service Phoenix closure memo
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


In Greek mythology, the Phoenix was a bird with great beauty, splendor, and longevity. The legend tells us that the Phoenix lived for five hundred years and then retreated to make a nest where she would die. She made a nest of aromatic twigs that would burn from the heat of its own body. The Phoenix is said to rise from its own ashes. It comes alive though the transforming power of fire and it lives again in full splendor. In the Middle Ages, the Phoenix was often used as a symbol for Christ, as He was resurrected. This legendary bird is an archetypal dream symbol that brings us positive and powerful images of rebirth. If you dream of the Phoenix, it is most likely that you are receiving messages from the unconscious that are telling you that new life and new beginnings are always possible. This bird is a reminder that we have internal powers of regeneration and that we have the power to change things for the better. As you are interpreting this dream, try to visualize a great bird rising up from fire and ash. It is a powerful image, whether produced by a dream or visualization.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.